Whether you manage a company with five people or 5,000, the phone service you use is a key to your productivity and success — and also an expense you want to keep under control. This is where Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) comes to the fore as a solution, delivering robust phone communication and ancillary services at reasonable costs.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from VoIP because it uses already existing Internet connections to enable phone communications, and with add-on benefits such as voicemail, conference calling, Internet fax, call forwarding, menu-based call routine, and more. Compared to conventional telephone setups, VoIP comes at a fraction of the cost, delivering tremendous savings over time.
Why managed VoIP is a must-have
Very soon, we’ll witness cloud-based services completely replacing the traditional system of Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) phone lines. Cloud-based phone services are affordable, easy to manage, scalable, and secure, requiring few organizational resources for maintenance and upkeep. All that a business has to do to get a sophisticated managed VoIP service in place is the right configuration, service adjustments, and monitoring, which can be performed by the in-house IT staff. As businesses grow across cities, countries, and continents, and workforces expand, VoIP-based telephony delivers incremental advantages in terms of cost savings, making it a must-have for modern organizations. Let’s take a look at some of the best VoIP services that businesses can use.
8×8 has been growing quickly, and is a leading cloud communications service provider offering flexible and sophisticated plans to small and mid-level businesses and large enterprises, with services spanning virtual office, call-center plans, and unified communications. For businesses that need intensive international calling, 8×8 is a good option. 8×8 features cloud-based solutions such as virtual PBX, allowing you to make calls from devices such as Cisco or Polycom phones, soft-phones, mobile devices, and tablets. The company’s datacenters are Sarbanes-Oxley compliant (SOX), and it’s also compliant with standards such as FIDMA, PCI, HIPPA, FIPS, and CPNI, to name a few. Apart from basic telephony, 8×8 service packages offer options such as metered calling plans, unlimited calling, fax services, auto attendants, call forwarding, intercom, caller ID, mobile integrations, and more. We suggest you carefully consider all add-ons you’ll need once you request a quote from 8×8, because the additional services change the pricing significantly.
Avaya Aura Communications Manager
Avaya managed communications include voice and unified communications services appropriate for setups such as customer support departments and engagement centers. Apart from VoIP telephony, Avaya offers unified communication services including mobile integration, instant messaging, video calling, and conferencing. Avaya supports multiple hosting options, such as session initiation protocol (SIP) and trunking. Avaya solutions work with legacy hardware, and this means they will work well for enterprises making their first moves into VoIP. Avaya services are compatible with open communication standards and traditional business communication solutions from IBM and Microsoft. Avaya is able to scale the security up if your business needs best-in-class data safety. What sets Avaya apart is the range of VoIP options it offers, with solutions spanning across call center specific products, desktop and mobile apps, control managers, voice options, health-care specific products, wireless communications, and more.
RingCentral Office is a cost-effective VoIP telephony service for enterprises, with benefits such as unlimited calling to North America, mobile phone support, admin features, call log reports, Glip collaboration, support for local numbers, hold music, call reports, extensions, toll free contact numbers, and business service integrations. Compatible with PCs, desk phones, tablets, and mobile devices, RingCentral Office’s cloud-based VoIP service also supports old phones and standard fax machines by offering analog adapters.
Skype for Business
Skype for Business from Microsoft is potent enough to replace any enterprise’s existing telephony system with its VoIP-based service. With multiple dialing options, advanced ancillary features such as conferencing, video recording, and video calling, Skype serves enterprises well. Skype’s Cloud PBX is a new-age replacement for traditional PBX, offering features such as transfer, resume, hold calls, call routing, voice mail integrated with Microsoft Exchange, built-in encryption, and more. With PSTN calling from Microsoft, you can leverage Skype for Business to connect with traditional phone lines. Using the Office 365 portal, enterprises can get new phone numbers within minutes, without the need of equipment installations.
Ideal for health care, public sector, mobile workforces, and internationally spread out companies, Shoretel is a flexible and reliable VoIP and unified communication service provider for modern enterprises. Companies can choose the on-site, cloud, or hybrid configuration model. With open architecture and APIs, Shoretel offers customizations and enterprise-specific functionalities, thus serving the requirements of companies that need more from their web telephony service. Unified communications features from Shoretel include instant messaging, P2P video chat, mobile integrations, desktop sharing, internet fax, voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding, phone alerts, and speed dialing. Shoretel is compatible with several ERPs, CRMs, and Microsoft directories, thus easing implementation for enterprises that prefer integrated technologies.
Time for all enterprises to embrace VoIP
Because VoIP communication offers significant cost advantages, service benefits, and communication flexibility compared to traditional phone lines, enterprises that have not hopped onboard yet should consider making the move. Also, for organizations that are already using VoIP services, now is the time to check as to what other vendors can offer, and renegotiate with your existing vendor accordingly.
Enterprises that have a huge number of analog phone lines and hardware already in place can still switch to VoIP and use adapters to continue using their existing phone infrastructure. Another option for these organizations is to use inexpensive soft-phones (headphones) that connect with PCs and are enabled for VoIP services. But you will need to plan for adequate Internet bandwidth for VoIP services. Consider that each VoIP phone line will need a 100 Kbps connection.